|Indiana Songwriter Jeremy Duff|
I think every songwriter has had the same fear. What if I die tomorrow and no one ever hears or is moved by the song (or songs) I have written? Especially Christian songwriters who feel that God gave use these songs to be used and to be heard!
For me that has been remedied somewhat by the songs I’ve been blessed to have other artists use. But I do remember that feeling. It would keep me up nights!
One day I got the word that a songwriter friend had pitched one of my songs to an artist doing an independent album. It was a small affair, with probably only a thousand or two CD made for a traveling singer-evangelist. But you know what? It made all the difference to me.
Suddenly, there were complete strangers hearing my song, presented by someone I didn’t even know. My song had a life of it’s own and I didn’t have to lift a finger! I don’t even recall if I got paid anything, but really didn’t care. I had a “cut”! A stranger picked my song (what I considered my best at the time) to be the first song on his album. Nice.
So, how do YOU go about this? I’m sure you’ve made some stabs at this before. Maybe you’ve had a few songs close, but for some reason, no go.
Well, there is only one remedy. Work harder. The songs won’t get played for someone by magic.
There are plenty of ways. Yes, you can use the newfangled web sites like TAXI, Broadjam, and other that have opportunities. These are legitimate ways. But there is nothing like some good old-fashioned detective work and shoe leather to get the job done here.
I know some songwriters who come to Nashville every so often to meet with their BMI rep, or whatever publishing contacts they have, just to show off their newest songs. It’s part of the culture here. People give you free time to show them songs (but not much time, and they will skip a song if it doesn’t strike their fancy by the 1st chorus).
Every free opportunity should be followed. See someone is looking for songs? Then ‘carefully’ read what they are looking for and send a song that fits that description. (But please, for the sake of all that is holy and just, if they ask for a contemporary pop ballad, don’t send a southern gospel country barn burner. Sending the wrong song just because your momma and you love it can burn some serious bridges! ;)
It’s also a good thing to have nice sounding demos of your songs. Badly recorded versions of you singing into a tape recorder at the kitchen table with Mabel singing in the background and the dogs howling doesn’t do anything for you except get you on the wrong kind of ‘best of’ collections.
Take time and spend the necessary money it takes to record quality demos of your songs. Are you a singer? Then use this as a demo (or better yet a master recording you can sell) of your own music. The best demos I have of my music are masters of artists who have recorded my songs.
Of course, you could always sing the songs yourself and get them out of an audience. No one will present them in your special way. and maybe if the songs aren’t translating to other artists or singers it’s because God had it in mind for YOU to get them out to the world. Many of my songs, probably 75% are really best done by me, because I wrote them in my style, which is kinda jazzy and not for everyone. Maybe this wasn’t your first thought when you began reading, but somewhere in your head you have thought “I might have to be the one who gets this song out to the world.”
In any case, to find a home for your songs, you are going to have to do more than surf and read, you are going to have to put together an action list, and go and DO. I heartily recommend action lists. Write it down. Start a text file on your computer right now! (Or read: write now!) Get down some steps that have come to you as you read this, and keep it front and center on your computer desktop.
I keep "to do" lists on all my computers, in my journals, and sometimes written by hand on my desk (and now I use Evernote, and I highly recommend it!) It really helps us creative dunderheads who tend to flit from one idea to another all day and never really get anything done. Lots of ideas and nowhere to go.
There is a home for your song. God gave them to you for a reason. Shouldn't you make something happen this week?
If you need help, you can find us below...
Have a great week!
Eric Copeland is a producer, songwriter, and consultant for artists, writers, and those who aren’t quite sure what they’re supposed to be doing. After you have jotted down ideas on your new “To DO List”, find out more about what we do at http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com